Thank god for Public Service Announcements
16.06.2008 - 16.06.2008 16 °C
Everyone knows that it is dangerous to cross the street. Doubly so when the cars are coming from the other direction than you would expect. Such it is in the United Kingdom, where they drive on the “other” side of the road from North America. Luckily here in London at many places the London government has painted “LOOK RIGHT” or “LOOK LEFT” on the road, so you know which way to look to see the cars coming.
Even knowing which way to look, though, doesn’t ensure safety. The danger is tripled here in London, where cars coming off side streets don’t actually stop like they do in North America, instead they just yield. Crossing the street is a much more co-operative venture here. Instead of a pedestrian in North America who can walk out at a corner knowing that the “rules of the road” prompt drivers coming to the intersection to stop, here you and the driver need to make eye contact to determine who should slow or stop, and who should go (and maybe even hurry up).
It was thus with great interest I watched a public service announcement from 1976 to help people cross the road. I saw it on a TV program that showed funny or very effective commercials. Unfortunately for me, someone looking for help in crossing the road, this commercial turned out to be funny.
(If for any reason YOUTUBE decides to delete the film, you can see it at the UK National Archives at this link)
There is nothing about that advert that makes any sense to me. The acronym SPLINK doesn’t even really conform to the advice given. I mean, they use “I” for “If traffic is coming, let it pass.” Shouldn’t they use something that would remind children more about the “passing traffic” then the conjunction used to start the sentence?
Anyway, geekier readers may recognize that the voice over and actor at the end is Jon Pertwee, who played the third incarnation of Doctor Who. I know at least half of the people reading this blog probably know that already.
I must say that the completely ineffectiveness of this PSA reminds me of the current campaign being waged in the UK called “Know Your Limits.” The campaign is trying to get people to not drink too much a day, and not binge drink. They use a very complex concept though, that of not having more than 4 units per day, and that 8 units per day is a binge drinking session.
Now, I have never walked up to a bar and said, “Barkeep, give me 2.3 units of whiskey in a dirty glass.” If you have, let me know, both what the barkeep said about ordering in units as well as asking for the dirty glass.
A unit of alcohol is defined as a 10 ml of pure alcohol in a drink, which means that the number of “units” depends both on the alcohol by volume (ABV) and the size of drink. There's a unit for every percentage point of ABV in a litre of drink, so a 1 litre bottle of vodka at 37.5 % has 37.5 units of alcohol.
What does this mean to you when you are out drinking, thinking to yourself “are you drinking too many units of alcohol?”, all you need to do is add them up. A pint of beer is between 2.3 and 3.4 units of booze, assuming of course you aren’t drinking any low alcohol or super strong booze.
So, depending on the type of beer you’ve had, you can have anywhere from one to two pints of beer.
All very clear. That’s why people keep writing into the papers about the campaign. Makes sense to everyone.
"Okay then, a pint of cider at 5% ABV is 2.8 units, but the bartender didn't fill it all full, and some spilled out as I was walking out to the patio, so let's call it 2.65 units. Yeah, that makes sense."